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"Explained by Brain!"
A group program specifically designed for Australian parents and carers of young people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) or at risk of FASD
Raising a young person with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is challenging! Parents and carers will tell you that and the research agrees! A part of what makes it so hard is that many parents find that the parenting strategies and techniques that worked well with their other children, just don't work with their child with FASD, in fact sometimes they seem to make things worse! This can leave parents and carers feeling exhausted, frustrated and unsure what to do next. 

"Explained by Brain" is a rolling, psycho-educational group program specifically designed to assist parents and carers of young people with FASD or with suspected FASD. 

The group will be facilitated by Clinical Psychologist, Dr Vanessa Spiller. Vanessa has extensive experience in working with individuals with FASD, their families and carers as well as in training, education and research on FASD.

What is covered in the orientation/starter session?
The orientation session will set the foundation and provide a framework for all later sessions - that's why it needs to be completed first. It will provide information about the brain-based origins of the behavioural symptoms of FASD that are vital in explaining and understanding why people with FASD behave and interact in the ways they do. The orientation sessions will also cover the kinds of approaches and strategies that have been found to be helpful in working with and managing the behavioural symptoms of FASD such as the neurobehavioral approach. You will be orientated to these approaches and provided with tools that you can then apply to parenting your child/young person.

What is a "rolling" group?
A rolling group is one in which you attend an initial orientation/starter session (in person or view an on-line) and then you attend the sessions that are most relevant for you.

What is the research or theoretical foundation of the program?
The program is based on many years of FASD and associated research. It draws on a variety of research and theoretical underpinnings of researchers and FASD professionals such Diane Malbin, Ross Green, Bruce Perry, Jeff Noble and Nate Sheets. The program content is also based on the professional experiences of Dr Spiller who has been working with individuals with FASD and their families for many years. The group will also be vigorously evaluated as it progresses.

Is there a cost of the group?
The orientation/starter group will cost $30 and all subsequent groups will cost $20. Payment can be made online or by card on the day. Pre-bookings are essential. If you are a registered foster carer, speak to your agency about sponsoring your attendance. 

When and where is the group held?
The group will be held on the 2nd Friday of each month starting 12th April 2019, 10 - 11:30am. The venue will be confirmed in the next few week (it will be inner Northside Brisbane). Remember, you can join the group at any time! You will be advised when the next orientation/starter group is occurring or provided with a video of the orientation session prior to joining the monthly sessions. More groups and locations may be added at a later date.

What is the first step?
Please complete the online registration and consent forms found on this page. Once registered, you will be sent some questionnaires to complete prior to the group starting. 

My child/young person hasn't been diagnosed with FASD, can I still attend?
Of course! Most people with FASD in Australia haven't been diagnosed or have been misdiagnosed (this is also true around the world). If you suspect your child has FASD or is at risk of FASD you are still welcome to attend the group. All the strategies and approaches discussed can be used with children without FASD as well as those with it. If you need information about where to pursue a diagnosis we can help you with that too.

My child has also experience trauma and has a range of other issues, will the group still be suitable for me?
Many of the approaches used in this group have been used with young people with a variety of issues including ADHD, ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder), ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) and trauma.
Download the registration form, complete and email to:
[email protected]
Download referral form here
What topics be covered in the groups?
This group will aim to cover all the issues impacting on young people with FASD. We will not shy away from the tough topics!! Topics will include:
  • Aggression - verbal and physical
  • Meltdowns
  • Lying (AKA confabulation)
  • Stealing
  • Sleeping issues
  • Risk taking behaviours
  • Impulsiveness and hyperactivity
  • Sexualised behaviours
  • ​Perseveration (getting stuck on particular behaviours and/or thoughts).
  • Difficulties with social skills
  • Building the relationship with my child
  • Re-inventing success for a child with FASD
  • Building a support and resource network
Still taking registrations!!